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Political motives in climate and energy policy

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  • Annegrete Bruvoll
  • Hanne Marit Dalen
  • Bodil M.Larsen

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

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    Abstract

    Standard economic theory provides clear guidance on the design of cost-efficient policy in the presence of imperfect markets and externalities. However, observed policies reveal extensive discrepancies between principles and practise. Based on interviews with core politicians from the Norwegian parliament, we investigate causes for the lack of cost efficiency in climate and energy policy. We find that politicians agree with the notion of cost efficiency in principle, but rather than ascribing efficient instruments directed at specific policy goals, they include concerns for industrial and regional development, income distribution and employment in the environmental policy design. Lacking insight in the functioning of economic instruments and perceptions of a non-binding budget constraint also violate the requirements for efficient policy decisions. The findings point to the role of economists and social scientists to communicate the functioning of complex instruments. Improved compensation procedures could help reduce the politicians’ incentives to undermine efficiency in order to avoid unwanted distributional effects.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 721.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:721

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    Keywords: policy instruments; policy formulation; political processes; climate policy frameworks; energy policy;

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    1. Elisabeth Gsottbauer & Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Environmental Policy Theory Given Bounded Rationality and Other-regarding Preferences," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(2), pages 263-304, June.
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    12. Daugbjerg, Carsten & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2001. "Designing green taxes in a political context: From optimal to feasible environmental regulation," Working Papers 01-17, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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    14. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Homo Economicus and Homo Politicus: interpretation and aggregation of environmental values," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-322, July.
    15. Helfand, Gloria E. & Berck, Peter & Maull, Tim, 2003. "The theory of pollution policy," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 249-303 Elsevier.
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